SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Goals almost a guarantee when Dundalk FC face Limerick

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Caoimhín Reilly


Caoimhín Reilly


Goals almost a guarantee when Dundalk FC face Limerick

Eoin Wearen of Limerick and Dundalk's Robbie Benson. (Ciarán Culligan)

Lowly Limerick FC visit Oriel Park on Friday night looking for their first win at the home of Dundalk FC in five years.

On that occasion, in 2013, Rory Gaffney - who made a habit of pricking the Lilywhites in the side - struck a brace and injected the fatal dose to Dundalk’s title hopes as St. Patrick’s Athletic went on to win the league.

Since then, however, the men fighting out of Oriel Park have virtually a perfect record against the Shannonsiders, winning 10 of the 11 encounters - the other, in the spring of 2015, having finished in a 1-1 draw in the teams’ last fixture at Jackman Park.

The victories at Oriel have been resounding too. A staggering 20 goals have been registered by the ‘whites with the Munster men offering just three in response, and none since the 6-2 mauling three years ago.

Interestingly, the Lilywhites have struck 37 times against Limerick in the league since Stephen Kenny took charge. The tally remains four shy of the 41 Dundalk have hit against St. Pat's in the same period, though it’s worth noting that the Super Blues were missing for the 2016 season having been relegated the previous year.

In saying that, their 13 goals-for is the joint-second highest an Airtricity League team has managed against Dundalk in Kenny's five-and-a-half-year reign. And, furthermore, when you tally the number of goals which this fixture has produced - again taking Limerick's 12-month absence into account - you find the tally (50) is just shy of the 52-goal total set in Dundalk vs Derry duels.

The fixture may still come too soon for Seán Gannon, even though he returned in Tuesday night's Leinster Senior Cup win over Bohemians. Gannon, along with longer-term absentees John Mountney and Stephen O'Donnell, apart, the Lilywhites have an abundance of options for this fixture against Tommy Barrett’s men, who sit in the relegation play-off spot. However, Chris Shields is out through suspension.

Ex-Lilywhites Daniel Kearns and Conor Clifford could fill two of the positions in the away line-up, while former Cork City striker Danny Morrissey has found the net on a couple of occasions in recent weeks.

Dundalk’s measly concession record this term (10) would suggest the diminutive striker may not add to his season’s total on the Carrick Road, yet, on past evidence, this tie never fails to produce goalmouth action.

Having already scored 11 times against Limerick this campaign, including eight at Oriel Park in February, adding to what must be a low-morale in the Blues’ camp following the club's financial issues, expect that figure to be further enhanced by 10pm on Friday night.